Premenstrual syndrome, is a group of physical and psychological symptoms that occur in women in a cyclic pattern, usually between ovulation and the start of a period. Premenstrual symptoms may occur in 95% of women of reproductive age (1) 65% of the women report symptoms of fluid retention or swelling (2)
While the exact cause of PMS is not fully understood, the condition has been linked with changes in hormones during the menstrual cycle. Dietary and lifestyle changes may be effective in reducing PMS symptoms and water retention.
After ovulation, progesterone levels increase in the body. Progesterone affects the sodium and water regulation systems in our body, leading to water retention that can be quite uncomfortable.
Reducing salt in your diet and reducing foods high in processed sugar may be beneficial in reducing PMS symptoms and water retention (3) . Daily exercise has also shown to be beneficial in reducing PMS symptoms and water retention (4)
Vitamin and mineral supplements may also be beneficial in reducing water retention associated with PMS. Vitamin B6 may be beneficial in reducing a number of PMS symptoms including water retention. In a study of 70 women who took vitamin B6 daily, more than 50% of women reported considerable improvement including headaches (81%), depression (60%), swelling and bloating (60%), irritability (56%) , lethargy (52%) and breast tenderness (52%) (5)
Magnesium supplementation may reduce water retention with PMS. In a study of 54 women with PMS, the group that received 200mg a day of Magnesium showed a significant improvement in fluid retention (weight gain, swelling of the extremities, breast tenderness and abdominal bloating).(6) These results were not statistically significant until the second month. In other words, nutritional supplements sometimes take time to work, so please be patient.
As a woman approaches perimenopause and menopause, imbalance in hormone levels may also increase the severity of hormonal symptoms such as water retention. If symptoms also include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irritability and weight gain, it may be beneficial to check hormone levels. Bio-identical hormone replacement may be a good option for some women.
The Naturopathic Doctors at Vitalia Health Care are very experienced in testing for and treating hormonal imbalances.
Book a consultation today with one of our Naturopathic Doctors to evaluate your hormonal health and provide individualized natural treatment options to balance your hormones, reduce the symptoms of PMS and help your feel your best!
Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND is the owner and one of the Naturopathic Doctors at Vitalia Health Care, INC.